This past weekend the NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers was a hard fought battle ‘til the end. Unfortunately at the end of the game, one of the Seattle players took to live television to rant and vent about an opposing player. In my opinion this move was a classless, uncalled for act from a professional athlete who should know better and remember he is a reflection of his team and its fans. Having played sports growing up, I understand fully what it is like to be in the heat of the battle with someone you don’t like. I understand there was a history of animosity between the two players, but this Seattle player should have been able to contain himself and act like a mature adult who could express things in a more rational manner…especially in the face of victory. If he was so keyed up that he couldn’t manage to control his tongue then he should have gone to his own teammates and vented until he could gain his composure and control his tongue enough to express himself more civilly in front of millions of people.
That being said, I find it interesting how everyone is so quick to judge this player for speaking so terribly on live television because he did so without thinking through what he was saying or was angry in the heat of the moment. People are attacking him viciously. People are talking about how disgusting his behavior was and how they would never support his team as a result of his comments. I must say that I understand those feelings and thoughts because as a Seahawks fan, I share many of them.
I noticed, as I read the news this morning, there didn’t seem to be much talk about the hard fought battle or excitement of the championship game. One player with his wagging tongue overshadowed all the news about the game. There have been more opinions and more anger between fans and friends and it actually has overshadowed what took place on the field. What I find so interesting about this outrage toward one player is that in our daily lives we are often put in situations where we get fired up and overly emotional about something and we also become unable to bridle our tongue. Sure, we want to vilify a professional player who does it on live television because it is easier to cast stones from far away. This certainly wasn’t this player’s finest moment, but we need to remember something: every day there are people watching US. Every day there are people we encounter, whether it is strangers, friends, coworkers, or family, and we think nothing about letting our emotions fly out at them because we have gotten keyed up over a situation. Maybe someone we don’t like has done something to disrespect or hurt us and we get so upset or offended that we start blurting things out without giving it a second thought. We are acting strictly from our emotions and though we may not be in front of a camera where millions can see, the people around us or closest to us CAN see. It affects them in much the same way as this player’s rant affected everyone who saw it after the game. I believe that rather than causing more strife over a situation with someone most of us do not know personally, we should take this opportunity to step back and look in the mirror at how we all act from time to time when we are faced with things we don’t like or with circumstances that makes us angry. We need to reflect on times in our own lives when we are overcome with the excitement or frustration of a moment and we hurl our words to others without any thought of how they will be received or how WE will be perceived as a result.
As Christians we have an opportunity, dare I say an obligation, to keep our tongue under control. We are representatives of a living God. And when we, like this player, get so caught up in our circumstances and what is going on around us that we let our words fly without thought, we are just as embarrassing, just as classless, just as disgusting and just as sickening in what we say and do…not only to those around us, but more importantly to the God who created us. I don’t appreciate the rant I saw the other night, but quite frankly it is easier to stomach that player than to stomach myself when I look at the times in my own life where I have been guilty of the same thing. Just because we aren’t on a national or worldwide stage, doesn’t absolve us from our responsibilities or the consequences of our behaviors.
So let us be careful. Let us remember the emotions stirred within us as a result of this one player’s unnecessary rant…and may it serve to remind and inspire us to be careful of our own words and of our own actions and reactions in the heat of life’s battles. The fiery circumstances in which we sometimes find ourselves do not excuse our lack of composure, or the loss of our peace or joy. And if perchance you find yourself in a situation where you are about to lose your “cool”, then do what this player should have done. Go to the people you trust most and vent to them. Blow off whatever steam you need to with people who will bring you back down to earth so that you do not become a detriment or stumbling block to those around you. Then get on your knees and ask first for forgiveness and then for strength to hold on to the peace that passes all understanding. Because it truly is by our fruit – good or bad – that we are known.